The A.O.C. Cookbook is much more than just a collection of recipes. Because Goin is a born teacher with a gift for pairing seasonal flavors, this book is full of wonderful, eye-opening information about the ingredients that she holds dear.
Since her James Beard Award-winning first book, Sunday Suppers at Lucques, Suzanne Goin and her Los Angeles empire of restaurants have blossomed and she has been lauded as one of the best chefs in the country. Now, she is bringing us the recipes from her sophomore restaurant, A.O.C., turning the small-plate, shared-style dishes that she made so famous into main courses for the home chef. Among her many recipes, you can expect her addictive Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Parmesan; Duck Sausage with Candied Kumquats; Dandelion and Roasted Carrot Salad with Black Olives and Ricotta Salata; California Sea Bass with Tomato Rice, Fried Egg, and Sopressata; Lamb Meatballs with Spiced Tomato Sauce, Mint, and Feta; Crème Fraîche Cake with Santa Rosa Plums and Pistachios in Olive Oil; and S’Mores with Caramel Popcorn and Chocolate Sorbet.
But The A.O.C. Cookbook is much more than just a collection of recipes. Because Goin is a born teacher with a gift for pairing seasonal flavors, this book is full of wonderful, eye-opening information about the ingredients that she holds dear. She takes the time to talk you through each one of her culinary decisions, explaining her palate and how she gets the deeply developed flavor profiles, which make even the simplest dishes sing. More than anything, Goin wants you to understand her techniques so you enjoy yourself in the kitchen and have no problem achieving restaurant-quality results right at home.
And because wine and cheese are at the heart of A.O.C., there are two exciting additions. Caroline Styne, Goin’s business partner and the wine director for her restaurants, presents a specific wine pairing for each dish. Styne explains why each varietal works well with the ingredients and which flavors she’s trying to highlight, and she gives you room to experiment as well—showing how to shape the wine to your own palate. Whether you’re just grabbing a glass to go with dinner or planning an entire menu, her expert notes are a real education in wine. At the back of the book, you’ll find Goin’s amazing glossary of cheeses—all featured at A.O.C.—along with the notes that are given to the waitstaff, explaining the sources, flavor profiles, and pairings.
With more than 125 full-color photographs, The A.O.C. Cookbook brings Suzanne Goin’s dishes to life as she continues to invite us into he
Multi-award winning chef Suzanne Goin has long been a mainstay on the LA culinary scene. Despite a busy schedule and multiple restaurants to oversee she was kind enough to awnser a few questions about her latest book The A.O.C. Cookbook. (It also happens to be on our list of the best of 2013.)
Booksaboutfood.com (BAF): A.O.C. recently moved. How is it setting into its new venue?
SUZANNE GOIN: We are loving our new home and have settled in beautifully. For us it really was an upgrade to a space that both Caroline (my business parter) and I have loved forever. Yes, in general there are dangers in moving locations especially when people are emotionally attached to a particular venue, but honestly in this case we were able to offer an even better ambiance, mood and experience in the new spot. We have a gorgeous open-air brick courtyard with bay trees and a real garden feel; we have full liquor now; we have a great private dinning upstairs with walls of wine cabinets and old wood floors…We really feel like we moved to our ‘Big-Girl House”!
BAF: What was your goal in writing this book?
Goin: I wanted to celebrate and capture on the page all that is A.O.C. In this second book I wanted to delve deeper into the “whys and whats” of the creativity of cooking. Why do certain flavors work together, what makes a dish really sing, why chose a particular vinegar or citrus juice or olive oil to finnish a dish? I also hope the book helps readers learn fundamentals of cooking so that can go off on their own and make something delicious because they have some insite and knowledge of how to do that.
BAF: It has been a number of years since your first book Sunday Suppersat Lucques. Was it difficult to get back into the role of being a writer?
Goin: Actually it took me that long to really want to do it and to carve out the time. I didn’t know it at the time but I think I really needed that break from my usual restaurant routine to do something very different. It was funny thought—the first month of “writing my book” was really an exercise in procrastination and catch-up. I surfed the web, printed and framed 75 family photos, organized my office, etc. But it was sort of a clearing of my head that needed to happen. I actually loved the quiet and solitary routine of writing.
BAF: You’ve written that the sharing of plates enhances the diner experience, how so?
Goin: It creates an energy and shared experience that I find really fun and engaging.
BAF: With so much going on where do you find inspiration or even the time
to be inspired?
Goin: Good question! I actually need to take little breaks every once in a while while to travel, go out to eat, read some cookbooks go to the market and just think abut food. I can usually tell when I start to get a little crispy or burned out and need to recharge—I try to listen to that and break out of the cycle to see something new and stop and think.
“The A.O.C. Cookbook truly reflects Suzanne’s undeniable talent. Her passion for delicious food is clearly evident in her thoughtful and creative dishes. Suzanne shares recipes served at A.O.C that readers can now enjoy from their homes. This is an educational cookbook that will inspire everyone in the kitchen.”
“Suzanne Goin makes some of my favorite food in the world—vibrant and eclectic, but always using seasonal, pure ingredients. These uncomplicated dishes will surely become classics.”
“I love to cook—that’s no secret—and I can think of no better way to spend an evening than in the kitchen, cooking for my family. But sometimes even the most passionate chefs need to be cooked for as well! The first time I sat down at Suzanne’s table at A.O.C., the food tasted like it was made just for me and I have been a big fan ever since. My fave? The Orata . . . and I always save room for the the S’mores with Caramel Popcorn and Chocolate Sorbet.”
—Giada De Laurentiis
“As soon as I read this book I was ready to jump on a plane to L.A.! Suzanne Goin has a marvelous ability to deliver a sense of a place in ingredients and few words. A.O.C’s ethos of excellence and casual delight comes to life brilliantly through her selection of seasonal produce (and when Suzanne says seasonal she really means seasonal) and her great precision in matching flavors.”
“In her wonderful new cookbook, Suzanne demonstrates once again her extraordinary gift for layering flavors with a colorful palette of seasonal ingredients. Her deceptively simple recipes always sparkle with sure-handed, humorous, passionate brilliance.”
—David Tanis, author of A Platter of Figs, Heart of the Artichoke, and One Good Dish